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Palazzo dei Papi, Viterbo

#2 of 76 in Things to do in Viterbo
Architectural Building · Hidden Gem · Historic Site
Palazzo dei Papi is a palace in Viterbo, northern Latium, Italy. It is one of the most important monuments in the city, situated alongside the Duomo di Viterbo. The Papal Curia was removed to Viterbo in 1257 by Alexander IV, due to the hostility of the Roman commune and constant urban violence: the former bishop's palace of Viterbo was enlarged to provide the Popes with an adequate residence. The construction, commissioned by the Capitano del popolo ("People's Captain") Raniero Gatti, provided a great audience hall communicating with a loggia raised on a barrel vault above the city street. It was completed probably around 1266.The massive façade, facing the central piazza San Lorenzo which is dominated by the Duomo, is approached by a wide staircase completed in 1267. The top of the palace walls is decorated with square merlons. On the right is a wide roofless loggia with a seven-bay arcade, supported by slender doubled columns and decorated with crests and reliefs. Within the loggia is a 15th-century fountain, made with material of various ages, sporting the coat of arms of the Gatti family.Viterbo remained the papal seat for twenty-four years, from 1257 to 1281. After Alexander IV, the palace was the seat of Urban IV, the Papal election, 1268-1271 that elected Gregory X (the longest papal election in Church history), John XXI (who died in the building in 1277 when his study collapsed), Nicholas III and Martin IV, who moved to Orvieto in 1281. They were all elected in the most famous hall of the palace, the Sala del Conclave so called because it was home to the first and longest conclave in history.
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1,206 reviews
  • I was not aware of the history of Viterbo before I travel to the city and I fell in love with the city. And this was one of the major reasons why I fell in love. The history of the building is...  more »
  • Not very necessary to visit the Museum, if you are not very into Pope's history. Probably a nice look outside coul be enough. And you can simply enjoy the surrounding nice Place and view.  more »
  • Big old building in a square that is quite nice but not amazing. The history surrounding it is interesting and the architecture is worth a gander but we took a detour to see it and I feel like my life hasn't been improved for it. I didn't come away with any lasting memories.
  • Gorgeous piazza on the edge of Medival San Pellegrino. This corner of Viterbo has a gorgeous cathedral, which has managed to survive for hundreds of years, with the original wood roof intact! This is one of my favorite areas to sit on the steps and read a book, or do some writing.

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